Submitted by: Pastor Julie Sanders,Tarkio United Methodist Church
Since my family and I have moved here to Tarkio we have had the opportunity to gain a new perspective. We look into these communities and see so many great things that are happening. The lives that are being impacted and differences that are being made. That’s the thing with perspectives, they are ever changing as we grow and have the opportunity to experience all that God is doing. And sometimes our perspective changes more by accident.
There was a pilot with three passengers: a boy scout, a priest, and a scientist and a plane that suddenly had engine trouble in mid-flight. The pilot rushed back to the passengers and said, “The plane is going down! We have only three parachutes, and there are four of us! I have a family waiting for me at home. I must survive!” With that, he grabbed one of the parachutes and jumped out of the plane. The scientist jumped to his feet and declared, “I am the smartest man in the world. It would be a great tragedy if my life ended!” With that, he also grabbed a parachute and exited the plane. With an alarmed look on his face, the priest said to the boy scout, “My son, I have no family. I am ready to meet my Maker. You are still young and you have so much ahead of you. You take the last parachute.” When suddenly, the boy scout interrupted the priest and said, “Hold on, we’re all right. The world’s smartest man just jumped out of the plane wearing my backpack.”
It’s interesting how a new perspective can come about. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lifts up two metaphors of how disciples of the kingdom will be known to this world. He said, they will be the salt of the earth, and they will be the light of the world, a light that will shine before others. Salt sharpens flavors. Light sharpens both sight and insight. Jesus is calling would-be followers of the kingdom to sharpen lives by living on the sharp, the cutting edges, the places where new perspectives, new tastes, and new visions are realized.
Discipleship means to continually put a new light, a new perspective, on all the world, to willingly change up the game plans. It calls us to do what we have to do to add flavor to the community that surrounds us. Jesus’ description of the kingdom of God, where the “blessed” are the poor in spirit, the mournful, the meek, the peacemakers, the persecuted, the child-like, shifts our focus and changes our perspectives. The Beatitudes give us the fresh perspective of risk taking missions, empowering us to get out into the darkened corners of our community and let our lights shine.
This is what Jesus calls each of us to do: to see other people as he sees them. This is the new perspective that Jesus gives disciples and the new perspective that Jesus gives us as well: we direct our thoughts and tasks, our compassion and love, to the people we come in contact with. Each of us, in some area, need a new perspective; maybe the new perspective of adding the flavor of our love and our compassion into our communities. Or maybe the new perspective of shining our lights into the darkened corners of our communities. Or maybe just the new perspective of an extra parachute when our plane is going down. Regardless of where you find yourself this day, I invite you to allow the grace of God to open you up to the new perspective of the Beatitudes and all the possibilities of discipleship.